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Todd Harrison: Random Thoughts for 2015


Todd Harrison looks ahead to what may be a turbulent year.

Editor's Note: Todd posts his vibes in real time each day on our Buzz & Banter where subscribers can follow over 30 professional traders as they share their ideas in real time.

It's a New Year, fresh with promise and hope and the best of intentions. 

While I no longer offer Ten Themes as I did for more than a decade, I'm not immune to establishing a few 'guiding principles' as we enter 2015. 

My personal intentions are pretty straightforward:

  1. Lose 36 lbs. Three pounds per month for 12 months. Very doable, IMO. I weighed in this morning at 250 pounds and I'm officially on the clock. This isn't a vanity play; doctor's orders with the motivation of seeing my children grow up.
  2. Less fluff, more stuff. Quality over quantity in every aspect of my life; work smarter, not harder, with a lot less noise.
  3. Earn money. Make smart decisions to create and further accumulate wealth. Again, all about the kids.
I was out-of-pocket for two weeks and I can't tell you how awesome it was to be off the digital grid. I realized how much time and energy was absorbed by the Internet in general and social media in particular, time that I could otherwise spend with my family or doing things that aren't constrained by 140 characters. I returned Saturday night and began to acclimate back into the real world.  As my brain re-engages and my tan fades, the following vibes have begun to percolate in my mind's eye:

The Greek elections on January 25 is the biggest known bogie on the board. Peter Atwater wrote an excellent column about this last week and I couldn't agree with him more. Given the conditioned complacency in the investor and analyst communities, the second mouse may well secure the sovereign cheese. 

Of course, the market is a forward-looking discounting mechanism, which is worth remembering given the event is 20 short days away. Here is some additional color on the upcoming event, for those interested.

I bought some Yandex (YNDX) a few weeks ago at $15 and change and entered a sell-stop order this morning with the above in mind, which was already triggered (~$18). It was a pure trade and trades are made to be taken.  I also took a loss on my Twitter (TWTR) a few weeks ago (~$36ish), which may have been a mistake but I'm looking forward, not back.

Google (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Priceline (PCLN) and Tesla (TSLA) are all trading below their respective 200-day moving averages. I wanted to put this on your radar since they have market caps the size of small countries.

Deutsche Bank is out with a call that oil could remain below $50 for the next few years. I am in the extreme minority in believing that crude losing 50% of its value in six months is not a good thing but I suppose time will tell. I am trying to see through to the 'why' rather than the 'what,' which is something we first touched on eight years ago.

Everything you need to know about social mood in NYC can be found right here. Sadly, the tricky trifecta (societal acrimony --> social unrest --> geopolitical conflict) is very much on track. And for this to play through, a single bullet need not be fired given the age of the Internet (Sony/JP Morgan) and the interdependence of the financial markets (crude/Russia). The end goal of war is not death but rather, economic destruction.

I like to read my friend Mark Dow when I get too bearish; this is his forward outlook for the New Year. He's a sharp dude and an even better guy.

This is my second pass on this post; the first was gobbled up by my computer as its way of reminding me that vacation is over.  The market is now more than a percent lower than when I started writing so I will get this to you straight way. 

In the immortal words of Stuart Scott, "Have a great rest of your (day) and have a great rest of your life."


Twitter: @todd_harrison

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